When you stand on the KwaZulu-Natal battlefields you can't help but feel something powerful - a tangible sense of what went down there. Tales of bloody battles, ambush, intrigue and fearsome warriors set the scene for a remarkably historic period of 70 years.
The 3 stakeholders involved in these wars paid a heavy price. Many fought and died bravely to claim the land between the foothills of the Drakensberg and the ocean. It was a unique struggle in that, at first, each side faced an unknown enemy. The fearless might of the Zulus engaged forces with devastating artillery and mounted horseman.
Head-on confrontations occurred between huge numbers of spear-carrying Zulu foot-soldiers and the fire-power of the Red-Coats. Each in turn had to deal with the wily determination of the Boers and their guerrilla-warfare tactics. Strategic thinking and cunning manoeuvres were all important. The Battle of Blood River, Isandlwana, Rorke's Drift and Spionkop became legend.
The KZN Battlefields Today
The land has changed very little in relation to this epic part of South African history. Apart from isolated forts and small graveyards, the windswept rolling countryside and rocky outcrops remain. The battlefields are well known and documented and you can stay in variety of lodges located in the area for a complete experience. Various historic towns, buildings, monuments and museums can also be visited in the surroundings.
You can investigate the battlefields for yourself and imagine the scenes or you can enjoy the benefits of a knowledgeable guide. On a Battlefield Tour, your guide will take you through the conflicts and recreate the battles in your mind - the imagery, the strategies, the losses and rewards. A great story telling or re-enactment is truly worthwhile as it gives you a fuller understanding of events.
Where to Go
Here are some excellent safari lodges located in the KwaZulu-Natal Battlefields. The lodges are about 4 hours drive from Durban or 5 hours drive from Johannesburg.
Babanango Valley Lodge
Babanango is situated in a natural heritage reserve which is surrounded by mountains. Apart from wonderful views of the valley, you can enjoy silver service hospitality and great tours of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift amongst other top battle sites. The lodge also offers walking and horse riding trails, Big Five game viewing excursions as well as cultural tours to the Zulu Heritage Village. Please note Babanango Valley Lodge only caters to student groups.
Isandlwana LodgeIsandlwana Lodge
This atmospheric rock lodge is located in a peaceful setting with views of the Zululand Hills. At Isandlwana you will be able to re-live the Anglo-Zulu and Anglo-Boer wars with a resident historian. You can enjoy battlefield explorations, superb cultural and historic tours, photographic and birding tours, sightseeing and Big Five game viewing excursions, visits to the Valley of the Kings plus walks, hikes and trails on foot or horseback.
Isibindi Zulu LodgeIsibindi Zulu Lodge
At Isibindi you will stay in a lodge that celebrates the Zulu culture - all the suites are architecturally designed to resemble traditional bee-hive huts and have commanding views of the surrounding game reserve. Your battlefield tours will be riveting, with site visits of Isandlwana and Rorke's Drift plus additional tours to Fugitive's Drift and Blood River on advance request. Other activities available include a wonderful Zulu Boma Dinner, bush breakfasts and family adventures, cultural / historic and panoramic tours, game drives / walks and fishing.